It was a Pick & Pray weekend for the most part, and while there were a few people who managed to multi-table their way to two-baggers, the weekend winners were surprisingly spread out. From 18 featured tourneys, there were 33 different recipients of grand prizes. So while the wealth was largely shared, there were still plenty of lucrative rewards and eye-popping handicapping performances.
The first of the big paydays took place on Friday, when slow and steady won the race for Michael Odorisio in the day’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Odorisio registered five wins and two places from 10 races. None of the collections were gigantic, but they got the job done, earning Odorisio $5,633 for his $78.20 finish in a game that closed with a total purse of a very nice $11,266.
Dan Wilde had even more collections from the 10 races than did Odorisio.
Wilde racked up a total of $114.00 from four firsts and four seconds to grab a $1,500 entry to the Horse Player World Series (now just about a month away). Wilde’s margin of victory was just under $20, and had the contest gone on longer, he might have won by more. Wilde had collections in each of the tourney’s final seven races. Finishing second, and also winning an entry to The Orleans’s signature event was Patrick Larson (five wins, one place).
On Saturday, Gary Blair won $10,250 in our $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which blew past the guarantee and offered $22779. Blair had four wins and three places, but his places played like winners.
Blair, a Toronto bowling center (centre?) manager may view runner-up collections like picking up spares. But that needn’t have been the case Saturday. His three place horses, including one in the last race, paid $16.80, $22.00 and $18.80. That last one knocked Jobby Blevins back into second place, which was still worth a nice $4,555.
Blevins didn’t have to take a backseat to anyone in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Jobby gonnatapited five wins and three places here to capture an early $10,000 entry to the best weekend in racing—a pretty nice companion to the $4,555 he picked up in the cash game.
Of the 12 featured-tourney races on Saturday, there were four in which the winner paid double digits. Emad Himaya had all four.
He also added two other first-to-the-wire runners to put up a monster score of $140.60 and punch an early ticket to the 2020 NHC. (Last week, Himaya won a BCBC entry here.) Also booking an early reservation to the 21st annual extravaganza was Greg Bone, whose four winners all came in a row, in contest races two through five. It was two later places, though, that helped him secure his wristbands.
The March 28-30 Horse Player World Series continues to be a very hot ticket these days.
Congratulations to the four who on Saturday earned not just $1,500 entries, but four nights’ hotel plus a $500 travel stipend: Dave Durkin, Nathaniel Gines, Robert Childress and David Brown. Durkin and Gines scored in the 90s, Childress and Brown were wearing polyester back in the 70s…but it was a winning look for all!
Edward Reidy ($76.80) and Grier Bibby ($75.40) were wearing leisure suits on Saturday.
And now they can wear them to Keeneland, where questionable fashion decisions are often on display. Reidy, a doctor who more commonly wears a white lab coat we assume, recorded five wins and two places to finish on top. Bibby’s cashes were fewer but more individually potent. He had three wins plus a runner up to finish just $1.40 behind Reidy.
Winning scores were generally higher on Sunday, but Reg Young got the job done wearing platform shoes and a white, three-piece suit…
…and now he has BIG One Fever, thanks to a three win, four-place performance. A $6.60 place payoff in the final contest race allowed Young to…ahem…stay alive in this one. Tom O’Connor finished a hard-luck second, just 70 cents behind.
Speaking of the 1970s, Ed Sullivan was still hanging on by the beginning of the decade, and on Sunday, he won our $7,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Hang on…being told that it was actually David Sullivan who won and Ed Peters who came in second. Oh well…either way, the tourney (ultimately worth $16,394) meant $7,377 to Sullivan and $3,278 to Ed.
Times have been tough lately for another pillar of the 70s—Sears Roebuck & Co. But business was booming for Richard Sears on Sunday.
Sears picked seven winners, including five in a row at one point to run off and hide in Sunday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier. Joining Sears in the August 3-4, $100,000 Guaranteed online tourney with paid-up (no lay-away) $2,000 entries will be David Barnier (third in Saturday’s $22,779 game), who hit the last race with 5-1 shot Allegiance to get in; and William Smith.
Here’s a look at Sears’s scoresheet:
Sears didn’t score as well in Sunday’s Horse Player World Series qualifier—in fact his score was almost $50 lower—but he still found the $90 entry fee to be a worthwhile purchase.
He wound up fifth here, but it was a five-prize tourney, so he won a $1,500 entry to the HPWS along with the four who finished in front of him: Wayne Collier, Douglas Schenk, Ryan Mueller and Ed Peters (runner up behind Sullivan in the $16,394 game).
Richard Sears, wasn’t the only player to record seven winners on Sunday. Dewey Petty did too.
Unlike Sears who bunched his winners together, Petty spread his seven out in the NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. In fact, Petty never went more than one race in the 12-race sequence without a winner. That’s pretty terrific handicapping (as long as you’re not just a Pick 3 or Pick 4 player). Gregory Lewis was $24 behind Petty, but his more-than-solid score of $93.20 accounted for the other available NHC berth.
Lewis did himself $5.60 and one position better in our first qualifier to the Hawthorne March contests.
He had five winners and two runners up here, so he’ll be in the windy city (which could pretty much describe the entire East Coast today) on March 29-30 with $700 in paid-for entry fees—good for each of the two, single-day tournaments in Chicagoland.
There was also a “first chance” qualifier on Sunday for the Aqueduct Gotham Challenge on March 9.
Business was brisk for this one (which, in addition to being a “first chance” qualifier, was also a “next-to-last-chance” qualifier). Congratulations to the four winners of $500 entries to the Big A: Stefan Stojkovic, Douglas Schenk (who also won a Horse Player World Series entry during the day), Richard Smith and Karl Jacob.
Thanks to picking six winners and two runners up, Jason Savarese was a runaway winner of Sunday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier.
There were enough entries for two prizes, however, and the other one went to the fine contest player Chick Matties, who has also sired a pair of pretty darned good ones as well—Paul Matties Jr. and Duke Matties.
It was a somewhat unique renewal last weekend of the Sunday, $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.
Tony Ariganello got the top money of $1,316 in the game that closed with a final pot of $1,880. He did it by collecting more in the first contest race ($125.60 for a $1.00 exacta in the 6th at Tampa) than any of his competitors did in the entire tourney. Ariganello did add one later winner, but it turned out to be window dressing.
Our next-to-last qualifier to the TSG Ultimate Betting Challenge took place on Sunday, and the winner was Tim Yohler.
Yohler had a strong six-win, two-place day. In second was Allan Sadler…but it was a happy second, as this was a two-prize tourney, so both Yohler and Sadler emerged with nice $3,500 packages for the March 9 Santa Anita/Gulfstream/Xpressbet.com event.
Sadler also finished second best in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers, though this runner-up effort was a little less satisfying for him.
Earning the $10,000 entry was Mark Livingstone, leaving Sadler with a $5,000 partial entry. It was a tight battle between the two…and also between Livingstone’s own two entries. Here’s how the standings looked with one race still to go.
Livingstone was in the top two slots, and one of those entries wound up blocking Sadler from any chance at the top prize going into that last race. As it turns out, Sadler’s #1 horse in the 13th at Gulfstream, Allegiance, won at 5-1 odds, so that block was important, indeed, for Livingstone, who added a $1,000 breakage collection to his $10,000 BCBC seat. Meanwhile, even though Livingstone’s block kept Sadler from winning, the Allegiance victory did get Sadler that partial entry. (If almost any horse other than Allegiance had won, Livingstone would have gotten a full BCBC entry plus a partial one in the same contest.) Meanwhile, we…presume…that Livingstone is still plenty happy with his $10,000 seat and $1,000 credit.
Next weekend, March comes in like a lion with another big batch of featured events. We hope you can join us for a portion of it.